Corporate Blogging: Caterpillar Builds a Community

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You know that it’s a good idea for your company to have a blog, but the task can seem daunting. Where do you start? As a first step, you’ll want to think about the goals of your blogs, and then you need to figure out how to achieve those goals. Not sure about either step? Let’s take a look at an existing corporate blog to get ideas for both steps.

Caterpillar may seem like an unlikely place to look for an example, but their blog successfully accomplishes several goals, including building a community, fostering brand loyalty, and solving problems.

The blog is not in a traditional format. Instead, it is made up of several sub-sections for different industries — construction, electrical, and marine — and each is attached to a corresponding forum. This allows customers to go straight to the information that is relevant to them and interact with people who are in their field.

The contributors to the blog are employees from Caterpillar, and they share brief bios so you know who the author is. Customers interact directly with employees of the company and get to know them. The company encourages them to share their own insight by commenting on the articles. And if a customer appreciates a comment that someone else left, they can give it a “Kudos.” The top Kudoed posts and authors are shared on the blog main page, so other users can go directly to the most valuable content.

In the forum, customers can share information, get answers for issues they are confronting, and share their own expertise with peers. They can also share knowledge they’ve gained from using the products directly with Caterpillar. An administrator from the company is active in the forums, keeping tabs on what is going on and answering concerns that are not addressed otherwise.

Each step of the way, Caterpillar makes it easy for customers to connect with one another and employees from the company. They also do a great job of keeping customers engaged and rewarding customer ideas.

The format may not be useful for all companies, but there are many valuable ideas that you can take for your own blog: encourage interactivity, allow your customers to connect with one another, and don’t forget that a blog should be a two-way street. You want to share your message with customers but also make sure you are listening and acknowledging what they have to say.